Apple’s Kevin Lynch talks Apple Watch timekeeping, says it’s far more accurate than iPhone

By , Dec 30, 2015

Apple Watch Activity teaser 001

Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch spoke with Mashable on Wednesday, touting the Apple Watch’s ability to keep precise time. Lynch told the publication that the Watch is far more accurate as a timekeeping device than the iPhone—four times better to be exact.

“With New Year’s coming, those who have the Apple Watch will be the most accurate watch in the room… There will be no question about when New Year’s Eve actually is now.” The VP went on to explain the various features in the Watch that help make it so accurate.

“First of all, we’ve curated our own network time servers around the world,” said Lynch. There are, by his count, 15 such “Stratum One”-level Network Time Servers (NTP) (one level down from an atomic clock), scattered around the world. They’re all housed in buildings with GPS antennas on the roof that talk, you guessed it, to GPS satellites orbiting the earth, which all get their time information from the U.S. Naval Observatory. In other words, those satellites are all getting their times from one, big orbiting system.

The servers then communicate with iPhones around the world, via the Internet, which in turn communicates with Bluetooth-connected Apple Watches. Of course, even that hand-off has to be managed. “We do do corrections for time delay in communication,” said Lynch.

Additionally, the Apple Watch features something called a crystal temperature-control oscillator. Its job is to manage fluctuations that come with extreme temperatures. Lynch also notes that Apple uses high-speed cameras to test the Watch’s accuracy frame-by-frame.

Kevin Lynch is obviously a very smart guy, so the rest of short interview is definitely worth a read.

Source: Mashable

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  • Brent Shelton

    Really? Just… really???

  • James G

    How is it that a device that depends on the iPhone is better at keeping time than the iPhone if it needs the iPhone to tell the time?!?!

    • Morgan Freeman

      …it doesn’t need the iPhone to keep time. “Additionally, the Apple Watch features something called a crystal temperature-control oscillator.”

      • Finish the quote. Unless you’re experiencing extreme temperatures it is the same as the iPhone.

      • Fanboy 

        It was vey satisfying reading that quote in your voice Mr. Freeman

      • James G

        Still needs the iPhone to first establish time. And re-establish time.

      • Jerry

        The watch needs the iPhone to establish time?! Wow! Thank God I didn’t buy it yet

    • Niclas

      It doesn’t need the iPhone’s time related data. It connects directly to time-servers to sync it’s time. And once it has synced, it is extremely accurate.

  • bd14u

    not related but i have that I keep refreshing the site anticipating of the the IOS 9.2 jailbreak. I can feel it’s coming. the force is strong

    • pnh

      Knock yourself out. When they said by the New Year, they meant the Chinese New Year.

    • follow @onlynewjb and enable notifications. You’ll be the first to be notified.

    • 5723alex .

      No, it is not. The groups failed to jailebreak 9.2

      3K: It has been many days since iOS 9.2 was officially release. It is believed that the jailbreak teams has been working hard on jailbreaking it. However, at this moment, jailbreaking iOS 9.2 has not succeed yet. Fellow jailbreakers please be patient in looking forward to it. If there is any update on the progress, we will follow up instantly.

  • xxFoxtail

    Why doesn’t the iPhone just get the same time information as the watch? Or at least pull it from the watch? I feel like I have a subpar product now.

    • the hood

      I have the Atomic Clock Gorgy Time app that I sync my time with which incidentally can obtain it’s synchronisation through Apple if preferred. Kevin Lynch is certainly pulling something.

      • Niclas

        The apple watch is not syncing to the same server as the iphone or a mac.

  • Jason B

    Think there are a lot of Casio’s out there that will be just as accurate, if not more accurate…since they are syncing to an actual atomic clock.

    • Niclas

      I had a look over at casio’s web page and they all are specified for:
      Accuracy: +/- 20 seconds per month (with no signal calibration)

      So it looks like you’re incorrect.

      • Jason B

        My manual says +/- 15 seconds per month. Since it syncs every 24 hours, that is +/- half a second during that 24 hours it can be off.

        It’s interesting you can tell me I’m incorrect without any specifications whatsoever on the Apple Watch…

        I’m sure the TCXO is more accurate in the end. But ask me if I care about even one second…

      • Niclas

        Get out of reach of the radio and it won’t be that accurate…
        Or if it gets a too weak signal.
        And no, your casio does NOT connect to a atomic clock. It connects to a time signal station.

        The AW is TC’d…
        Why would I? It was never the topic. Go ask on reddit and see if anyone is interested.

  • David

    You might have the most accurate watch in the room, but good luck trying to count down the seconds till midnight on New Years Eve…Apple Watch doesn’t yet have the capability of displaying the seconds digitally.

  • Daniel Maia

    If the time data is beemed to the iPhone before the watch why don’t you just let the iPhone use this very precise time data too ?